What was D Thinking?

05/22/2011

I am a frequent Expedia user. I don’t love it – I think it has much room for improvement – but I often book my travel through it because 1) I get cash back on my credit card for shopping with Expedia, and 2) earning many points at one place is far more useful to me than having a few points each with this airline, that hotel chain, and the other car rental company.

I like the concept of TripAssist, Expedia’s iPhone app. The real-time flight status updates via SMS, easy access to itineraries, and mobile-optimized environment where I can shop and book travel even when I am riding the bus are all very useful features to me. But I don’t have an iPhone, so I don’t have an iPhone.

I have been eagerly awaiting an Android version of TripAssist. When Expedia released its first Android app on May 10, I was among the first to download it. Between then and now, I have booked two trips through Expedia. Regrettably, neither of them was booked using the app.

The app is called Expedia Hotels, so all it does is let users shop for and book hotels. Since I almost always fly to my destinations, I have to book my flights on the Expedia website anyway. I have no reason to turn to the app for hotel reservations. Using the app to shop for a Portland hotel for when my parents visit next month, I noticed it did not allow me to make reservations for more than four adults. Unlike the website, it also did not allow me to narrow down to specific areas in Portland and star ratings. The other thing that really bothers me is that I cannot access TripAdvisor reviews from the app. Lastly, the app does not seem to sync with my Expedia account. I cannot be sure, because I have not followed through with the app, but I’d rather not risk it.

However, just because the app is no good for me doesn’t mean it is no good at all. Other than the petty complaints above, the app actually does quite well what it says it does. It is very straightforward. It finds my location almost immediately and displays hotels nearby. Many road warriors who travel extensively by car don’t arrange for lodging ahead of time, they stop whenever they are tired, and I imagine they could find the app useful.

Expedia Hotels is an excellent start. I’m looking forward to new features. But TripAssist it is not. Uninstalled.

3 Responses to “What was D Thinking?”

  1. Kelly McIvor Says:

    I tend to agree with you, C1. This is only a portion of the basic services someone might expect. I think I recall D saying that some (large) proportion of hotel bookings take place within 24 hours of the actual stay. That is, a hotel is all they need and they need it now. For these people I guess this app would be handy. The next question is: why an app and not a web site?
    K

  2. meggiebrown Says:

    I’m surprised, honestly. If I’m remembering right he said that of mobile reservation, the vast majority are made within a day or two of travel. But, I dont think it was just for hotels. I would think that they should incorporate flights and car rentals ASAP. As a frequent traveler, I am constantly changing flights, and if I booked directly through Expedia, I would want to do that over my phone. Hence the argument for a great mobile site. Kelly – do you know who built their app?

  3. Kelly McIvor Says:

    I stand corrected. You are right, Meg, it was reservations within 24 hours. I don’t know who built the app (did they purchase a company that made it?)


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